AS A FACILITATOR, BE A STUDENT
RATHER THAN A
Remember that facilitating is for your enlightenment as you support your client. Really listen as your client responds to the four questions and shares their turnarounds and examples. Notice your own answers as they surface and fill the silence in you. Notice your own discoveries and internally witness your client's as well.
We stunt our own growth, and that of our client, when we give unnecessary, unsolicited advice and assume that is what the client needs. Notice when you want to give advice, and realize that the advice is for you. Silently feel what it's like to realize what you want your partner to realize.
It is your job as facilitator to gently guide the client back to inquiry any time they defend, justify, or argue for or against the concept being worked. Notice when they attempt to persuade you with philosophies that override inquiry. Remind them (through your own understanding) that the Work works when they answer the questions. Then begin your facilitation again where you left off.
When someone is facilitating The Work, giving the four questions, he's receiving at another level what I originally received inside me. If he's really facilitating from a neutral position, without any motive, then he's in the place where I am on the other side. It just gains in its freedom. It's in or out: unlimited.
INTRODUCTION - LITTLE GIRL
DOING A FLIP
A child is happily absorbed with her own games in the playground. All of a sudden she shocks herself by performing a flip. Kids around her, whom she had barely noticed, are laughing and clapping. She repeats the flip to see if they 'll clap again.
All over the playground, kids are going, "Look at me! Look at me!", happy when they get the response they want, disappointed when they don't. The first child isn't sure what she's discovered, but it feels exciting. She thinks perhaps she's found the key to being included.
She goes to work on a new flip with a motive that she didn't have before. She's no longer fooling around to amuse herself. Her focus has shifted to the response she wants from the others, and with that comes the anxiety that she won't get it.
THE SEARCH FOR APPROVAL FROM FRIENDS, ASSOCIATES,
AND FAMILY MEMBERS IS A FULL-TIME JOB
WITH NO VACATIONS
At its center lies the search for ultimate approval, the search that all the songs are about, for the person who will look at us and say, "You're the one." We call this "falling in love."
Falling in love is usually understood completely backward, like so many other important things. There's no mystery to falling in love. We have fallen out of the awareness of love and are ecstatic when we find our way back, misunderstanding how we did it.
We take another look at the little girl from the introductory text. She has the key. Look at her face, lit up with the excitement of perfection. She's overjoyed just to be there with her legs and arms to play with. There is absolutely nothing more that she wants or needs, and she's too absorbed in the moment to realize it.
The flip she does is an expression of love itself. When she does the flip again, looking to see if she can win applause, she shifts her focus outward and cuts herself off from love. But love doesn't go anywhere; she just loses her awareness of it. Later in life, people call experiences like this 'falling out of love" and think that they're about the other person.
The little girl is innocently misdirected. She begins to think that the way back to her happiness - to a perfect moment - depends on the reaction of the other kids. Even though the awareness of love is always available, years might pass before she has it again, years she devotes to searching for love and approval outside herself.
YOU'RE CONSTANTLY ON THE LOOKOUT
FOR ANY EVIDENCE THAT YOU'RE
NOT APPROVED OF
When you're constantly trying to be likeable, you leave no gaps in your life in which you can just breathe and notice what you already have, no chance to experience the unlimited options that those gaps are filled with. Even after you've attracted admirers and supporters, you're still busy seeking results. You have to make sure that your friends do all the things friends are supposed to do… invite you to parties, send work your way, console you when you feel depressed. And it's never enough. You're constantly on the lookout for any evidence that you're not approved of or adored.
THE SOMEONE WHO IS "THE
"Falling in love" is a powerful experience. If you look back, you may remember it as a moment when you stopped seeking. You stopped because you thought you'd found what you were looking for. Your mind was no longer filled with the effort, the desperation, of seeking. What you found is what you had in the corner of the playground and never really lost. But now you think it's coming from another person, someone who is "the one."
Many people fall in love for the first time as teenagers. By that time the simple playground joy has vanished (actually YOU left IT, but that's not how it seems). Dark thoughts appear… anxiety about how you're not all right and how no one can ever love you. Then the miracle happens: Suddenly there is someone to love, and you can stop searching. Maybe it's a boy in your chemistry class or a singer you saw at a rock concert. Maybe it's a movie star or your best friend's new girlfriend. With this kind of love you're just as happy when there's no hope of return. You don't mind if a kiss is completely out of the question because you have braces on your teeth, or because you would never betray your friend, or because there is no possibility of meeting the rock star. These may be the very reasons that you let yourself love completely.
When you look back on that first crush, it's possible to see that the girl you adored had nothing to do with it. Years later you can run into her again, stare at her all you want, and not have a clue what you saw there. You would have done anything to marry her, and now you're grateful that she never noticed you.
IF THE LOVE ISN'T COMING FROM
THE OTHER PERSON - WHOM
DOES THAT LEAVE?
There's only one person left: you. YOU gave yourself the experience. The blissful feeling was not caused by how wonderful or sexy your best friend's girlfriend was. It was you who felt the wonder and the excitement. Someone held up a mirror and showed you your heart.
A CRUSH IS AS REAL AS ANY
There are those who say that a crush is a delusion, that it wasn't real because it all came from you. Another way to look at it is that the crush was as real as any experience you'll ever have: you just made a mistake about where the joy was coming from. The source wasn't the brown-eyed girl or Leonardo DiCaprio; it was your own long-lost capacity to experience pure joy.
When you had the crush, you found your way back to the child doing flips just for herself. That's the one you abandoned in order to seek an identity that you thought others would recognize. What we may think of as 'first love" really takes us back to love itself, which is what we are to begin with.
THEY WILL POINT US TO OUR
Our parents, our children, our spouses, and our friends will press every button we have, again and again, until we realize what it is that we don't want to know about ourselves yet. They will point us to our freedom every time. The whole world will. It's all a reflection of you. It's perfect. There are no accidents.
NO ONE CAN DEPRIVE
ME OF MY
You might go home and ask your mom to sit with you for a while. And if she says, "No, I don't have time," good! Look forward to it. There's always another way to be with her. If she's changing diapers, you might say, "Can I help you? " or you might sit with her and just listen to what she's saying. Just watch what she's doing. Invite her to tell you about her path and listen to her life, watch her light up as she speaks of her god and her way, without letting your story interfere. There are many ways to be with your mother. It might be a whole new world for you. It opens an untapped world when you are clear about what you really want. No one can deprive me of my family - no one but me. There's no family to save. No family to convert. There's only one, as it turns out… you.
CHILDREN AND FAMILY CAN'T
Your husband shouldn't go check his e-mail and be gone for hours? Hopeless! Children and family can't compete with e-mail! That's it. How do you treat him when you attach to this story that he should prefer you and the family to the Internet! Are you the teacher of shame and guilt? How does that feel inside you? Who would you be without the story that he should prefer you to the Internet?
MY WHOLE FAMILY IS
Like-minded? My whole family is like-minded. They lie on the floor, they walk, they sit, they tell stories. That's about it. None of the stories is true. They just have a wonderful time. It' s a great movie. They tell the story of how I love them or I don't. It's all just a story.
IN THE PRESENCE OF SOMEONE WHO
DOESN'T HAVE A PROBLEM YOU
CAN'T HOLD ON
When you stay out of your family's business, they notice that you have your stuff together and that you're happy, so they start to follow. You've taught them everything they know, and now they begin to learn again. And that's what happened with my children; they just don't see a lot of problems anymore, because in the presence of someone who doesn't have a problem, they can't hold on to one.
YOUR FAMILY IS A PROJECTED
IMAGE OF YOUR
If your truth now is kind, it will run deep and fast within the family and will replace manipulation with a better way. As you continue to find your own way doing inquiry, sooner or later your family will come to see as you see yourself. There's no other choice. Your family is a projected image of your thinking. They're your story; nothing else is possible. Until you love your family without conditions, self-love is not a possibility, and therefore your Work isn't done.
YOUR FAMILY WILL SEE YOU AS THEY SEE YOU,
AND THAT WILL LEAVE YOU TO DO THE
WORK ON THEM ALL
How do you see YOURSELF? That's the important question. How do you see THEM? If I think that they need The Work, then I need The work. Peace doesn't require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.
WHEN YOU START TO REALLY LIVE THE
WORK YOUR FAMILY WILL
There's nothing you can do to stop them, because they're all living the way you have been teaching anyway, and they will continue to follow your teachings - not by what you say, but by the way you live. In the peace of that, they'll follow you. It may take a while, because they may not trust you or believe you, they may believe that you're in another tricky maneuver again. But if you live this Work, there's not trickery to it, it's the real thing, it's love. And eventually they come to trust that love. I can say anything to my children, and it's always my truth. And they know not to ask me if they don't want the truth. I am someone to trust.
EVERY STRESSFUL THOUGHT SEPARATES
YOU FROM PEOPLE
When you say or do anything to please, get, keep, influence, or control anyone or anything, fear is the cause and pain is the result.
Manipulation is separation, and separation is painful.
Another person can love you totally in that moment and you'd have no way of realizing it. If you act from fear, there's no way you can receive love, because you're trapped in a thought about what you have to DO for love. Every stressful thought separates you from people.
FEAR IS LACK OF
Your fears are nothing more than a lack of integrity, that's all, there's no mystery. Write them down, inquire, and notice how they just don't arise anymore; and if they do, they have encountered a friend, and there's peace.
Fear is lack of integrity, and the way you know this is that when you're in a lie, you experience discomfort. Life is simple, until you lose your internal integrity, and then it hurts. The feeling of discomfort will let you know. It says, 'Sweetheart, take a look, get honest."
THE WORST THING THAT CAN
EVER HAPPEN IS
Fear has only two causes: the thought of losing what you have or the thought of not getting what you want. In either case, the worst thing that can ever happen is a story. Nothing you need can be taken from you. And no one can ever have anything you need.
Need is a story you tell yourself. It's a lie that causes you pain and separates you from yourself. It's a wanting what is not, that separates you from what is.
IT'S NOT PEOPLE WHO FRIGHTEN ME,
IT'S ME THAT FRIGHTENS
We only fear what we are - what we haven't gone inside with and taken a look at and met with understanding. If I think you might see me as boring, it would frighten me, because I haven't investigated that thought. So it's not people who frighten me, it's me that frightens me. That's my job, until I investigate and stop this fear for myself. The worst that can happen is that I think you think about me what I think about myself. So I am sitting in a pool of me.
EVERY FEAR IS THE FEAR
The fear of death is the last smokescreen for the fear of love. The mind looks at nothing and calls it something, to keep from experiencing what it really is. Every fear is the fear of love, because to discover the truth of anything is to discover that there is nobody, no doer, no me to create suffering or to identify with anything. Without any of that, there is just love.
IF YOU HAVE A THOUGHT - THERE'S
A feeling is like the mate to a thought appearing. they're like a left and a right. If you have a thought, there's a simultaneous feeling. And an uncomfortable feeling is like a compassionate alarm clock that says, "You're in the dream." It's time to investigate, that's all.
But if we don't honor the alarm clock, then we try to alter and manipulate the feeling by reaching into an apparent external world. We're usually aware of the feeling first. That's why I say it's an alarm clock that lets you know you're in a thought that you may want to investigate. If it's not acceptable to you, if it's painful, you might want to do The work.
LET YOUR FEELING TELL YOU WHEN
THE FIRST LIE BEGINS
Now here's what I noticed. When I mentally go into your business, I start getting this stress inside me. Doctors call it names like ulcers, high blood pressure, cancer… all of it. And then the mind attaches to that, and it creates a whole system to hold up the first lie.
Let your feelings tell you when the first lie begins. Then inquire. Otherwise, you get lost in the feelings and in the stories that lead to them, and all you know is that you hurt and that your mind won't stop racing.
And if you inquire, you catch the first lie through noticing your feelings. And you can just stop the mind by putting the story you're attached to on paper. There's a portion of your stressful mind stopped, even though it may still be screaming in your head. Now put the statements up against inquiry, ask the four questions, and turn your statements around. That's it. You're the one who sets yourself free.
YOUR CARROT IS THEIR
If you believe that certain foods are really good for you, and you love eating those foods, and you feel good when you eat them, and it feels like loving yourself, that sounds very sweet to me. It sounds like a peaceful, honest way of living. The war starts when you believe that other people should eat that way too: your partner or your children, for example. You can't know what's best for them. Maybe your carrot is their ice cream. You just can't know their path. Do you know yours?
HUNGER IS JUST
I once went for twenty-seven days without food. There was no reason for it - I just knew not to eat. And during all those days I couldn't find a trace of hunger. Hunger was just another myth. My family and friends were fearful for my life, but I wasn't concerned; I felt healthy and strong. The whole time, I was doing a lot of vigorous walking in the desert. and at no moment did I experience anything but myths about hunger and bellyaches and weight loss. I couldn't find one legitimate need that didn't come face-to-face with the fear of death. And then, after twenty-seven days, for no reason, I ate.
IN THE CLARIY OF UNDERSTANDING,
FORGIVENESS IS UNNECESSARY
You don’t need to let go or understand or forgive. Forgiveness is realizing that what you thought happened didn’t. You realize that there was never anything to forgive, and that’s what The Work makes evident. It all has been a misunderstanding within you. When you can see that, someone else has to say, “Oh, you’re so forgiving”, because you wouldn’t have a clue yourself. That’s true forgiveness.
When you understand that you’re one with reality, you don’t seek, because you realize that what you have is what you want. Everything makes sense because you don’t superimpose your thinking onto reality. And when you make a mistake, you realize immediately that it wasn’t a mistake; it was what should have happened, because it happened.
Before the fact, there were infinite possibilities; after the fact, there was only one. The more clearly you realize that ‘would have’, ‘could have, ‘should have’ are just unquestioned thoughts, the more you can appreciate the value of that apparent mistake and what it produced. Seeing this is forgiveness in its totality. In the clarity of understanding, forgiveness is unnecessary.
FORGIVENESS IS DISCOVERING THAT WHAT
YOU THOUGHT HAPPENED
Forgiveness is discovering that what you thought happened didn't. That there was never anything to forgive. What seemed terrible changes once you've questioned it. There is nothing terrible except your unquestioned thoughts about what you see. So whenever you suffer, inquire, look at the thoughts you're thinking, and set yourself free. Be a child. Know nothing. Follow your ignorance all the way to your freedom.
IT'S THE TRUTH THAT
When I say things like "Until I'm free to be happy in the presence of my greatest enemy, my work's not done", people can hear that as a motive for doing inquiry. It's not; it's an observation.
If you do the work with any kind of motive, even the best of motives - getting your husband back or healing your body or saving the world - it won't be genuine, because you'll be looking for a certain kind of answer, and you won't allow the deeper answers to surface.
Only when you don't know what you're looking for can you be open to the answers that will change your life. Any motive other that the love of truth won't work. It's the truth that sets you free. That's an accurate statement - it's not just written in a bible somewhere. And the truth we're talking about is not someone else's truth; it's your own. That's the only truth that can set you free.
FREEDOM MEANS LIVING
IN KINDNESS AS
Freedom means living in kindness, AS kindness. It means never having a moment of fear, anger, or sadness - living totally exposed, as a gift. There's nothing personal in it.
The master is good to people who are good, because all she can see is goodness - she has no reference for anything else. So she's also good to people who apparently aren't good. She sees them as confused children who are having a very hard time. It's painful to be mean and selfish. She knows from experience what that feels like, and when she's kind to people who reach out to her, however "good" or "bad" they have been, it's herself she is being kind to. She acts as a kindness to herself. For her, it's always goodness meeting goodness, the steady, unbroken flow of her own nature.
WITHOUT A STORY, LIFE
I invite you to look at the nightmares that you've suffered through and survived, and to see that freedom really is possible in your everyday life. Your story is the only thing that's painful, and life has to mirror back to you what you believe is true. There's no exception to that.
You may be afraid to go deeper into The Work because you think that it's going to cost you something valuable. My experience is the opposite: without a story, life only gets richer. Those who stay in The Work for a while discover that inquiry is not serious and that investigating a painful thought just turns it into laughter.
I love that I'm free to walk in the world without fear, sadness, or anger, ready to meet anything or anyone, in any place, at any time, with arms and heart wide open. Life will show me what I haven't undone yet. I look forward to it, and I look forward to seeing you walk with me.
UNTIL I'M FREE TO BE HAPPY IN THE PRESENCE
OF MY WORST ENEMY, MY WORK
IS NOT DONE
People can hear that as a motive for doing The Work. It's not - it's an observation. If you do The Work with some kind of motive - of getting your wife back or getting sober - forget it! Do the Work for the love of truth, for the love of freedom. Isn't that what you want your wife for anyway? So that you can be happy and free? Well, skip the middleman and be happy and free now! You're it. You're the one. there's nothing else to do.
YOU KNOW WHO OUR FRIENDS ARE?
PEOPLE WHO AGREE
People who agree with us…those are our friends. You say, "He's irresponsible and unkind." They say, "Oh, I know it, I know it. Isn't that awful? You must be so frustrated."
And if anyone argues with that, you have to convince them that he's irresponsible, even if you have to exaggerate. Because these are your friends - they have to agree. And people who don't agree become our enemies, and then we find another group that will agree with us about him, whoever it is.
And we do it in our family. we side against each other. We do it in our workplace, and we do it in our communities. There are "those people" - and then there's us. And we all agree.
INQUIRY ALLOWS YOU TO TAKE THE FEAR OUT
OF LOSS BEFORE ANYTHING
HAPPENS TO THOSE YOU LOVE
Some thoughts seem too frightening to examine. Thoughts like "I couldn't make it without you" or "If my children died, I couldn't go on living" can terrify you, and then, instead of asking if you really believe them, you might push them back down or live as if they were true and, as a result, feel anxious without knowing why.
Most people have someone or something in their lives that they think they couldn't' make it without. You might take all kinds of precautions to avoid losing your husband, your child, your money, your job, your home. Usually the precautions include worrying a lot and placing limitations on the people you love, trying to keep them out of the trouble you're afraid of. Sometimes reality steps in and takes away what people think they couldn't bear losing. In fact, they survive. When the worst thing that could happen has happened, people will tell you (if you dare to ask) that living with the fear of it was more painful than the actual event. Often their friends and relatives had a bigger problem with the event than they did.
People who live through it will tell you that their experience of loss was kinder than their beliefs about how it would be. Inquiry allows you to take the fear out of loss BEFORE anything happens to those you love. It also reveals the harm that fearful beliefs do to your relationships when everybody is still around and doing just fine in reality. And there is a huge benefit for the people close to you when they see that you realize that your life doesn't depend on their welfare. If you don't need them to stay alive for your sake, they are free to live for themselves.
"IF MY CHILDREN DIED, I COULDN'T GO
ON LIVING" - IS IT TRUE?
What are the related thoughts that might block you from finding a genuine answer, or from even questioning that thought? Here is one that you may have: "I'd be a traitor to my children if I even considered that I COULD go on living without them. It would mean that I don't really love them." This thought is, of course, completely insane, but that never stopped anyone from believing it.
The craziness is easier to see when the thought is rephrased more simply: "If I don't live in fear of losing my children, it means that I don't love them" or "If I don't suffer, it means that I don't care."
And sometimes the mind goes even further. Like superstitious cavemen, people may believe, "If I allowed myself to think I could survive something terrible, that terrible event would happen." Thoughts like this do have power, but their power is of a different kind. The next question reveals precisely what effect they have.
HOW DO YOU REACT WHEN YOU BELIEVE
THAT IF YOUR CHILDREN DIED, YOU
COULDN'T GO ON LIVING"?
How do you treat your children when you believe that thought? You probably restrict them and try to keep them safe in ways that may not be healthy for them. You also treat them as if your life depended on them, because according to that thought it does. This means that you treat your children as if they existed for your sake. "Sweetheart, don't run into the street, because I don't think I could go on living if you died."
When you act like this, what are you teaching them? That the world is a frightening place and that something terrible may happen at any moment. You´re also teaching them that it's their job to keep you alive and that they´re responsible for you.
And how do you treat yourself when you believe that thought? You fill your mind with fear and worry. You constrict your heart. You impose upon yourself an imagined future of sheer pain. You are never just present with yourself, because your thoughts can't leave your children alone.
WHO WOULD YOU BE
WITHOUT THE THOUGHT ?
Who would you be as a loving parent, raising your children, if you were incapable of even thinking the thought "If my children died, I couldn't go on living?" Take your time with this question. Feel the effect of taking terror out of your relationship with your children. It leaves you with love.
It leaves you showing your children how to cross the street confidently, intelligently, how to take good care of themselves for their own sake, not yours. Following your example, they might come to see that if someone they loved died, they would make it - they'd be just fine.
TURNING THE THOUGHT
"If my children died, I COULD go on living." Don't be halfhearted here. Ask yourself to imagine what you think is unimaginable: the life you COULD lead without your children. Be a traitor to misery and find some advantages to that life. There's nothing macabre about this. The point is to break the grip of a fearful belief. Find three ways in which your life would be better without your children ..
The move here is a powerful, all-purpose lifesaver: whenever you think you couldn't bear something, find three proofs that you could in reality bear it.
It doesn't matter if these three ways seem silly, as long as they are genuine. "I could have the first shower in the morning." "I could go to the movies and not hire a sitter." "I could become the school-teacher I always wanted for them." You may think that these reasons are ridiculously light when balanced against having your children in your life. But you're not weighing one thing against the other. All you're doing here is meeting your terror with something more honest: "If my children died, I COULD go on living." And then you can come back to reality in a new way.
Imagine your child coming up to you and asking, "Mom, would you be okay without me?" Now you can look into his or her eyes and say, "I love you in my life, and I'd really miss you. And I would be fine." - "Really, Mom? What would you do without me?" - "Well, sweetheart, let me see. I wouldn't have to get up so early in the morning, and I'd have the first shower, and I could go out whenever I liked. And the bottom line is that I love you in my life. Nothing can take you out of my heart, ever." There's no fear there. You've learned - and they learn - that love doesn't mean fear.
IT 'S NOT PEOPLE WHO FRIGHTEN ME,
IT'S ME THAT FRIGHTENS ME
We can only be afraid of what we believe we are - whatever there is in ourselves that we haven't met with understanding. if I thought you might see me as boring, for example, it would frighten me, because I haven't questioned that thought. So it's not people who frighten me, it's me that frightens me. That's my job, to frighten me, until I investigate this fear for myself. The worst that can happen is that I think you think about me what I think about myself. So I am sitting in a pool of me.
All fear is like this. It's caused by believing what you think - no more, no less. It's always the story of a future. If you want fear on purpose, get a plan.
FEAR IS NOT POSSIBLE WHEN YOU'VE
QUESTIONED YOUR MIND
It can be experienced only when the mind projects the story of a past into a future. The story of a past is what enables us to project a future. If we weren't attached to the story of a past, our future would be so bright, so free, that we wouldn't bother to project time. We would notice that we're already living in the future, and that it's always now.
REALITY IS NEVER TOO BIG
FOR THE OPEN
Being empty means that there are no obstacles in my mind to keep me from loving what is, whatever it is. The clear mind is absolutely still. Anything that comes into its awareness is a tilt, to be set straight again. It's always looking for something out of order, only to see the order. It makes sense of everything and rests in its unceasing awareness.
What an amazing world the empty mind is! Everything fills it. Feet, legs, coffee table, nose, arms, hands, laptop, walls, floor, windows, curtains, all of them nameless and flowing into and out of one another.
Imagine being filled with nothing, and the weirdness of that, and how only that could make sense. And imagine the nature of itself that would produce the unending flow of fullness, and the container that could hold absolutely everything. There are no limits to it. Reality pours into us, and that's how it expands, that's how it manifests its infinite abundance.
If mind were a body, it would be as if the light were just shooting in, sparkles of the most brilliant light, and it flows into you as a body, and rather than coming out of any orifice, it's contained - for example, instead of shooting out your fingertips, the light would stop there and the fingertips would expand out at the same rate at which the light would fill the body.
So it is fullness without limits. It has to have a way out, and yet it stays in. Reality is never too big for the open mind. It's as vast as life, it's not separate, and it keeps watching for anything apparently new and includes it in its infinite expansion. It's all-inclusive, a limitless container, and there's nothing too much for it, nothing that's not welcome, nothing that it wouldn't or couldn't include.
TRUE GENEROSITY HAPPENS WITHOUT
ANY AWARENESS THAT
You just give. That’s it. Nothing sticks to the action. It’s an act of receiving as much as of giving. The giving is the receiving.
When you are generous and giving something away with your whole heart, you’re simply not aware of any generosity. You’re not self-conscious. In fact, you would laugh if someone called you generous. When a mother breastfeeds her baby, does she think “how generous of me”? That would be the furthest thing from her mind. Giving to her baby is giving to herself. Pure generosity is not an action; it’s an experience.
GENEROSITY IS SIMPLY WHO AND WHAT WE
ALL ARE WITHOUT A STORY,
ONCE THE “I” IS
Realization is of no value to me if I can’t give everything. And I don’t give on purpose; that generosity is simply who and what we all are without a story, once the “I” is realized. The way you can know how much you’re attached to any story is how much you withhold from yourself. When you withhold, you feel the loss. It’s not comfortable.
TO ME THE WORD BUDDHA
Meticulous, joyful generosity without left or right or up or down or possible or impossible… the generosity that naturally flows out of you when you're awake to what is real. Generosity is what's left of you after you see that there's no such thing as a self. There's nothing to know, and there's no one who knows it. So how do I know this? Ha!
THE OLD MEANING OF VANITY
I have devoted myself to the end of suffering in the world. The end of your suffering is the end of mine, and that is selfish. I'm in love with everyone and everything I see because it's all my own.
I sometimes say that it's total vanity. The old meaning of vanity is said to be "emptiness". I love that. If someone is suffering… in other words, if someone is believing a world of suffering into existence… then that is what's left of me to serve through inquiry. I can be no more generous than that.
YOU CAN HURT OR DISAPPOINT
PEOPLE WITH YOUR TRUTH…
IS THAT TRUE?
Every person is responsible for himself, in the giving and receiving. If I really believe that telling my truth would hurt someone's feelings, I don't tell it. I stop. I don't go past my own idea of what could hurt you because that would hurt me. These are my own boundaries. I can't know that it would hurt your feelings. I stop for the sake of my own feelings. I don't walk around being careful about what I say; I stop for myself. I am responsible for my own heaven or hell.
On the other hand, if you ask me point-blank for the truth, then I'm going to tell you. I want to give you everything I see if you ask. The way you hear my answer is what determines whether it hurts you or helps you. So every person is responsible for himself, in the giving and receiving.
I could say the most loving thing and someone's feelings could be hurt. The story they tell about what they THINK I said is how they hurt their own feelings. Nothing else is possible.
If I ask you a question point-blank and you dance around it, thinking that your truth will hurt me, then you're not honoring yourself or me. To not answer honestly could leave you feeling incomplete. Since I asked you straight up, it must mean I can handle it. Can you really know that you can hurt or disappoint another person with your words?
THE RECEIVING IS IN
The next time you give your children money, realize that the receiving is in the giving. There's nothing more to receive than that. If you touch it again, it's hot! The receiving is in the moment you give it. That's all you get. It's over. If you have one expectation, one desire for them to be grateful, you lose the gift.
Love is an impulsive act. It's free. It's the story you tell about it afterward that's your poverty. My generosity is what's mine; the story you tell about it has no effect on me. What does that have to do with me? But my gift - that's what I receive. Attaching to these insane stories, without investigation, is how you cost yourself the gift that you are.
THERE'S NO VALUE TO EVEN THE MOST
PRECIOUS OBJECT BEYOND
THE GIVING AND
When something's over, it's over. We all know when that point comes, and we can honor it or ignore it. When my hand reaches out for a cup of tea, I lavish myself on the whole cup of tea, even though I don't know if I'm going to finish one sip, three sips, ten sips, or the whole cup.
Someone gave me a precious gift the other day, and I loved it. But the gift was in the receiving. In that it was over, and I noticed that I gave it away immediately. Its purpose was over. There's no value to even the most precious object beyond the giving and receiving.
WHEN THE MIND CAN NO LONGER SEPARATE
GOD FROM REALITY, WE ARE LEFT IN
THE STATE OF TOTAL INTIMACY
The story goes that "God" gave the commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. I don't know what happened, if anything, on Sinai. But I do know that if God is a character in a story, I have to project all sorts of qualities onto him. If I believe that he is judgmental and punishes disobedience, like a strict father, I have to live in fear. If I believe that he is compassionate and loving, I'll live in trust - until something apparently bad happens or until things don't go my way.
After the Newtown massacre in 2012, I heard a priest say on television that God was sad because He couldn't keep it from happening. I can see why people get angry or disappointed at a God like that. But with either version of God - the cruel judgmental one or the well-meaning, powerless one - people are simply reacting to their own projection.
Even if you project God as all-loving, all-compassionate, and all-forgiving, that God is still too far away for me. He still is separate, and there is no freedom in separation. It has to be closer than that.
With anything you love, with anyone you love, you always want to be closer, closer. For me, God means no separation. No separation, physical or mental. When the mind can no longer separate God from reality, we are left in the state of total intimacy. We become one with reality in an entirely new way, and that's a beautiful thing.
SEEING YOUR PARTNER
You're living with God disguised as your husband, and he will show you all your unclear places; he will give you everything you need in order to get free. That's love. When you see your partner as God, your Work becomes very simple.
EVERY LOVE SONG IS WRITTEN
FOR GOD BY
All love songs make sense if we remember what it is that we truly love. If the "you" of a song is another person, then the song is a lie. It has to be, because we can never find our completion in another person. It always comes back to us. So when we put God in the "you" of these songs, we see how true they all are.
THE HEBREW NAME FOR GOD
CAN MEAN "THAT
I experience reality as something so benevolent, so beautiful, so pure that there is no word for it. I don't have a problem calling it "God". It exists wherever I turn my eyes (and even saying "exists" is saying too much). When I first realized this, I was amazed. I was ecstatic, and I still am. God, God, God… that was the song I heard. That is the song I keep singing.
There is nothing that doesn't fit into this kindness, this pure abundance. And who of right mind wouldn't be devoted to it? It was… is… so obvious. That's where I found myself… on my knees internally, at its feet, without reservation, unceasingly, awake to what I had realized. God, for me, is the beloved, the goodness and purity of the world. And in my experience, I can' t know God until I know myself.
"That which is" is an excellent name for God. God is everything. Everything is good, and when we don't experience it that way, we suffer. Seeing anything in your life as unacceptable obliterates God's goodness. But it obliterates it only for you, only for a while. God's goodness doesn't change. It is what it is, whatever you think it is, until it's not. And for this we have inquiry.
I AM VANITY - TOTAL
What fun is it to be God if I can't get a glimpse of myself in the mirror? And whether I like it or not, that's what I am. I'm vanity - total vanity. So when people are attached to their looks and their health, it's coming from an honest source. It's just misinterpreted. It's pure innocence.
GOD IS EVERYTHING
AND GOD IS
God is another name for reality, and I am a lover of what is. If I lose my grandchild or my daughter, I lose what wasn't mine in the first place. It's a good thing. Either that or God is a sadist, and that's not my experience.
I don't order God around. I don't presume to know whether life or death is better for me or for anyone I love. How can I know that? All I know is that God is everything and God is good. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
IF YOU THINK WE SHOULD BE THERE
FOR YOU - YOUBE THERE
It's not our job. Our name is God; we don't move. We're never going to be there for you until you learn to inquire and turn it around. And that's not going to change. You can marry a saint and it's still not going to change: you won't even perceive that you're living with one.
GOD IS ANOTHER NAME
What is God's intention? Whose business is God's intention? To go mentally into God's business is to be immediately lonely. That is why I keep that solid center - God is everything, God is good. I know his intention; it's exactly what is, in every moment.
In fact, God is another name for what is. I don't have to question it anymore; it's over. I don't have to be outside myself, meddling in God' s business. It's simple. God is everything. God is good. And from that basis it's clear that everything is perfect. Then, if we investigate, we lose even that. And that is intimacy. That is God itself. One with. One as. Itself.
HOW COULD I NOT LOVE ALL THAT I AM,
ALL THAT YOU ARE?
It's personal and it's not personal. It's personal in that the whole world is me - a mirror image that I am and love. Without it, I'm bodiless. And it's not that I need to look, it's just that looking is such a delight. On the other hand, it's not personal, because I see nothing more than a mirror image. Until God - reality - moves, I have no movement. Every movement, every sound, every breath, every molecule, every atom is nothing more than a mirror image of God. So I don't move, I'm being moved.
I don't do, I'm being done. I don't think, I'm being thought. I don't breathe, I'm breathed. There is no me, there is nothing personal or real about it. Whenever you speak, it's God speaking. When a flower blooms, it's God. When Hitler marches, it's God. I see only God. Add one more 'o' and you've got 'good'. To me they're synonymous, How could I not love all that I am, all that you are? One me.
EVERY WORD IS THE
Every word is the sound of God. There is nothing personal here. And everything is personal. If the moon rises, it's for you. You're the one watching it! (And that's just a beginning.)
YOUR NAME IS THE
I experience the I arising, and I quake with the privilege of that, because the I is Its very self, being born. When the I arises, it is presenting Itself to Itself. Your name is the name of God. It's equal to "table", "I", "God".
GOD'S WILL AND MY WILL ARE
THE SAME WHETHER I
NOTICE IT OR
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE
IS NO BAD NEWS
The Gospel means "the good news". There is nothing that isn't good news. I imagine that Jesus saw goodness in all things. He received everything with an open mind and heart, and he realized that every experience is given, every experience is a gift. It' s falling down, it's getting up, it's your everyday chores, it's the smell of fresh strawberries, the smell of garbage, it's the death of a loved one, it's your husband falling in love with another woman, it's everything that happens in your life, whether you believe that it's good or bad.
He saw the apparent bad as good, because he no longer lived in the world of opposites, the world where there is anything powerful enough to override the true nature of everything. He had understood this good news, the nature of things, so deeply that he could live it.
This is another way of saying that Jesus trusted God with all his heart. He called God "Father" not because he imagined God as a human being sitting above the clouds, but because to his mind a father was pure generosity. I don' t think Jesus was a mystic; he didn't have visions or exotic experiences; he saw and heard and smelled just what you or I see and hear and smell. But he saw it all as good. He knew what the Bible meant when it says that on the sixth day God looked at all of creation and said, "It is very good…"
People usually talk about God as if He were a character in a story. I don't think that Jesus saw God that way. I think that he saw God with a clear mind, as everything. For me, the God means "reality." Reality is God, because it rules. I often say, and I love to repeat this: If you argue with reality, you lose - but only 100 percent of the time.
I can always trust God's will, and I don't have to guess what it is. Whatever happens is God's will. Whether I live or die, whether my husband and children live or die, whether I am rich or poor, sick or well, whether there is war or peace, abundance or famine, sunshine or hurricane or earthquake, that is God's will, and therefore it's my will. I'm in love with reality, and reality includes everything: both sides of everything. My arms are open to it all.
WHEN YOU NO LONGER IMPOSE
YOUR THINKING ONTO
The Buddha compares his teaching to a raft that brings people from the shore of suffering to the shore of freedom. He says that that’s its only purpose. When you reach the other shore, you leave the raft behind; it would be ridiculous to strap it onto your back and carry it around as you walk. It’s the same with teachings, he says, even the clearest of them.
The Work too is a raft. The four questions and the turnarounds help you move from confusion to clarity. Eventually, through practice, you no longer impose your thinking onto reality, and you can experience everything as it really is: as pure grace.
At that point the questions themselves become unnecessary. They are replaced by a wordless questioning that undoes every stressful thought as it arises. It’s a way of meeting the mind with understanding. The raft has been left behind. You have become the questions; they’ve become as natural as breathing, so there’s no longer any need to ask them.
When we reach the other shore, we realize that we have never left the shore we started out from. There’s only one shore, and we are all there, though some may not have realized it yet. We think that we need to get from here to there, but there turns out to be here. It was here all along.
When you sit in the state of contemplation, seeing what actually exists, excluding everything remembered or anticipated, the Buddha mind becomes apparent, and you wake up as the unborn.
Peace is beyond life and death. If you really want peace, if you understand that self-inquiry goes beyond life and death, then your practice will leave you on the other shore, which turns out not to be the other but the only shore. Thoughts of a different shore were imagination, and when you recognize this, you realize that you have always been on the shore that the Buddha points to. No raft is needed.
GRACE MEANS UNDERSTANDING THAT
WHERE YOU ARE IS WHERE YOU
It means losing that arm and noticing what remains, in full appreciation and gratitude, and seeing at the same time how much better off your life is without the arm, and all the benefits that this new way brings. It’s the realization that where you are and what you are and what everything is and how it is, in every moment, is your heart’s desire, fulfilled beyond what you ever could have imagined.
A SENSE OF THANKFULNESS FOR NO LONGER BEING
THE PERSON WHO THINKS SHE KNOWS
Gratitude, you could say, is what remains of the experience of humility. That's my favorite position. It's a sense of kissing the ground, licking the ground for its pure deliciousness, kissing the feet of the master that is everything without exception.
There is such a sense of thankfulness for no longer being the person who thinks she knows and who has to live life out of that limited, claustrophobic mind. and of course I am that person as well.
I remember when I believed those thoughts, so I have a reference, I understand how others see it. I watch their confusion with nothing but love, because they're innocent children who feel that something's askew, yet keep moving toward the polarity that never works, where they want to win, to do it right, to do more, to have more, to plan, to defend, to protect, to be loved, to be admired, and to undergo the shame of settling for less than their heart's desire.
When you feel real gratitude, it shows without effort. whether or not anybody notices is up to them. But if they do notice, they receive a much bigger gift - not small words and gestures, but gratitude itself. People become very open in the presence of gratitude. soon they want to give you everything. things get out of control, and love appears.
You can see this clearly with a hug. You don't experience the hug you're getting if you're trying to hug back. Trying to give back right away is refusing the gift. When you really receive it, you feel the arms around you, you feel the body, and you feel the love inside you . The receiving IS the giving. It's the most genuine thing you can give back. That's what they wanted to give you in the first place.
GUILT AND SHAME ARE ANCIENT WAYS OF DEALING
WITH REALITY AND THEY DON'T WORK
You are not guilty; you're simply believing what you think. But guilt and shame are all we've had available to us as human beings, because we haven't known how to question the mind.
In my experience, guilt and shame are outmoded. They're ancient ways of dealing with reality, and they don't work. They don't serve you, because you continue to teach that there's something terrible in the world.
So we're asleep. We're simply believing what we think. No one is guilty. Why are YOU where you are? You believe what you think. If your life isn't going the way you want it to go, it's because you believe what you think. You believe your stressful thoughts. When you question them, it leaves you in a space where you're free to act. You're free to be a kind, loving, mature human being.